Townsville Twist

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Today's most valuable lesson

I am very proud to say I now know what cane toads and sausage rolls have in common. First of all, meet Toadby:

Toadby is a rather misfortunate cane toad who spends most of his time flaking out (ha ha) in the back lane from the college to the uni. Since this is the fastest way to the uni from our deck we have to walk past him all the time. I can pretty safely say that he hasn't visibly decomposed AT ALL since he first appeared. The smell, on the other hand, makes it pretty obvious that there are definitely some bacteria at work.

It's hard to imagine something that small and flat can smell so bad. I was gagging when I took this photo. See the sorts of sacrifices I have to go through to entertain you people?

Lunch today was sausage rolls, because some brainiac decided that they'd put it down on the special requests list. Everyone's first bite of these sausage rolls was followed by one of those "This isn't quite right" looks. They tasted kind of fruity, almost more sweet than savoury. Still, I bolted one down and grabbed another one for later.

On the way home from my Geology prac today I said g'day to Toadby. Usually the wind only blows one direction down that lane, so once I'd gotten past Toadby I thought I was in the clear. Typical, the wind had changed. I got a nice strong whiff of decomposing cane toad. Awful! A bit later in the evening I went to eat that sausage roll. My first bite was recieved a little differently this time. For some reason, it tasted exactly the same as Toadby smelt. That's what had grossed so many people out at lunch. I'd finally put my finger on what it tasted like, and it made it all the more revolting. One of those things you never thought possible.

Just a note. As it turns out, I didn't get that question on eating rocks (below) right. Makes me wonder if all those wantons I've eaten in the past might have been bull testicles or something.

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Sunday, 26 March 2006

Getting our rocks off

After being told at the beginning of our Geology prac that we were NOT to think about sex for the next three hours (I kid you not), we were taught how to tell the difference between silty rock and not-silty rocks: eat them. That's right, "just snap a bit off and have a chew. Don't knock it til you try it". Being the person who had snorted a bowl of soup the previous evening, I was naturally voted the official rock taste tester. I take great pride in these kinds of juvenile achievements so I took this highly flattering and sexy photo of myself:

I said it was definitely siltstone instead of mudstone. Other people thought differently, but they hadn't eaten it. I'd better be bloody right.

There were also a few interesting tidbits in the prac book itself. One was this warning:

"Even though taste is a very good way to distinguish between shale and siltstone, DON'T taste this particular rock. Don't make your friends (or enemies) eat it either. Wash your hands after examining this specimen. Really. Do not suck your fingers or pick your nose. There are metals present in potentially toxic quantities should you suck, lick or eat the specimen. Immediate death is very unlikely, it would more likely be a protracted and painful death, or just slowly damage your health. No, it's not mercury or arsenic, it's lead, so you'd probably have to eat several rocks to get really sick."

Another is this little exercise. As you can probably tell by now, our Geology lecturer is a weeny bit quirky.

"Exercise 6: Briefly examine 3/20, bauxite from Weipa. The round things are called 'pisolites' formed by..."(bla bla bla, scientific boring stuff)..." Say the word pisolite out loud (pronounced 'pizzolite'). Do not say this word to your answer sheet."

There was nothing else involved in that exercise. I worry about these guys that get hard ons from looking at dirt.

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Saturday, 25 March 2006

In fact, we LOVE it!

There's an intersection that you have to drive through whenever you leave the uni. On the corner is a shopping mall, which truth be told is a pretty impressive one for Townsville. The one little niggley thing about it is this sign on the main road that gives me the jibblies (oooh, that almost rhymed!).

That's NOT the sort of pose I want to see someone do at an information desk EVER. Like, come over here and we'll tell you where you need to be and if you want we're also giving out free blowjobs under the desk. Puts a whole new swing on "Customer Care". Eerk, I think I'll go study now or something - it's getting on my nerves just looking at her. She can 'have' someone else.

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Friday, 24 March 2006

Chemistry Tutes = JCU History

My Tuesdays are made up of eight delicious contact hours that run until 9pm. Wednesdays are worse, beginning with an 8am start and running til 5pm. It's a struggle getting up for those 8am Chem tutes, but it means that you can get a nice fresh hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, baked beans and HASH BROWNS! In the class, the Chemistry lecturer/tutor goes through a bit of the actual work, but spends most of his time telling us little stories about the uni's colourful chemical history. Two are of particular note, so I thought I'd share the joy.

JCU's NMR Machine
For those of you who don't know what NMR stands for, it's shorthand for enema.

For those of you who DO know what NMR stands for, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, this story will make more sense. Several years ago James Cook Uni bought a brand new shiny NMR Machine thing (you can tell I wasn't listening in the lecture) that makes molecules vibrate and it's used to determine what molecules are in a sample. Or something. They use this same technology in medicine with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines.
Anywho, they imported the machine in from overseas and it arrived in the country on time, but for some reason it took six months to get it to the actual uni. Upon further investigation it was discovered that since the stamp on the box mentioned the word "Nuclear" nobody was game to go anywhere near it for fear of their balls dropping off for those six months. Customs had had a real good long poke around at it (with a ten foot pole, no doubt) before it got the okay. Apparently this is why MRI machines are called that instead of NMRI - people freak out when they see "nuclear" on anything.

Any chance to use a Bazooka
I wish I could remember what chemical it was, some sort of liquid chlorine compound I think, that they used in great quantities to keep the tanks nice and clean over in the aquaculture buildings back in the day. Since the uni used it in bulk they bought it in bulk and stored it in big metal drums. The problem with this chemical was that over time it would release gas, and since it was in a sealed drum, the drum would get bloated and people started to get a little bit worried that they'd go boom any moment. The uni had over-ordered the stuff and they had about half a dozen of these big bloated drums lying around waiting to blow up. So what would you do to dispose of them? You could ask a chemist OR you could get the bomb squad in. Guess what the blokes in charge chose. So the army turns up in their big manly trucks with their big manly guns and decides that the best thing to do would be to stick the drums in a field and shoot them with a bazooka! And they did. The explosion was pretty big - like REALLY big. It knocked some of the humvees over, two soldiers had ruptured ear drums and it blew out all the windows in the buildings and cars within a 200 metre radius.
Turns out that if they'd asked the chemists, they would have been told to stick a hose in the drums and fill them with water. Chemicals disposed of. End of story. I think I still would have preferred the bazooka though.

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Monday, 20 March 2006

Library Treasures

The JCU Library is pretty good. Of course, I've never been to another uni library so I can hardly compare. There's a help desk where they encourage you to ask them anything about anything. There's always a computer available for you to use. It's always quiet. But there's one thing that, shall we say, 'sticks out' a little bit from your standard library. We have a naked man chained to the wall.

He's standing right next to the libarary catalogue searching computer. As a side note, they've tried to be cool by calling the catalogue "Tropicat" which sounds like one of those lame nicknames somebody wants to be called but nobody does. I think the Library staff even cringe when they say it. Anyway, It's kind of distracting having a naked man right next to you when you're trying to search for journal articles. I'll be there typing in my search then suddenly realise I've put "plant* AND etiolat* AND penis OR bondage".

It's one of those things you don't want to get caught staring at but at the same time you can't help it. So let's have another peek:

At least it's not as bad as the stone sculpture outside UTS. I so wish I had a photo.

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Monday, 13 March 2006

At Home with the Nuns

At John Flynn there is an annual event called the At Home Dinner. Basically it's an excuse for everyone to dress up in drag and dance like Napoleon Dynamite. This year everyone had to pick a song or movie beginning with the letter of their deck - T-Deck did Titanic, F-Deck did Footloose and, not surprisingly, N-Deck did the entire Napoleon Dynamite dance.

L-Deck, as I have mentioned in the past, has been dubbed "The Nunnery" because we're made up entirely of girls. It only seemed appropriate to dress up in habits and dance to Like A Virgin.

Oh, don't we look so wholesome? We walked to dinner in two lines with our hands in the praying position and promptly sat down and started guzzing down the goon and passion pop. One by one they called up the different decks to perform. We were one of the first few to go through. We got up and our DA Julia gave a speech about how we'd been excommunicated because we liked to indulge in certain activities that the church didn't approve of, and that we "know more about heaven than you could ever imagine". One of the girls had spliced together this prayer song that came on first before it abruptly changed to the first chorus of Like A Virgin. When this change occurred we threw off our habits to reveal our inner souls.

HOT!! Our dance consisted of such classic moves as the group orgy, the Mexican bum-slap and me giving a lucky stranger a lap dance. We ended up coming second which we were all pretty stoked about. The prize choccies were gone in about 8.54 seconds.

Then we all got outrageously drunk and I projectile vomited all over a rival college's bathroom.

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Thursday, 9 March 2006

Got Dead People?

Today for geology we got a new lecturer who was a little more enthusiastic than the last one. I was almost sad to see the old one go, because he was very... 'quaint' is really the definition of his character. In farewelling him we let go of the geologist stereotype:

It's not all bad news, however. Let me run through the way in which he opened his lecture on mineralogy. All pictures are pretty accurate to what he put on the board.

Lecturer: Okay, so let's say you die. Everyone dies, calm down, it's gonna happen one day. We bury you in your little box in a nice little graveyard.

You're sitting there, quite happily decomposing. Now, what are the most common elements in the human body?

Me: OMG loiek Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen!!!!!!! LOLZ!

Lecturer: (with an aside of 'Emily, you rule so much, see me after class naked') Right! Now let's say it's a few million years down the track. You've been covered in a few kilometres of sediment and ocean and stuff. By this stage there's not really much left of you apart from a few squashed pockets of carbon


Now your remains are pretty far down where the pressure is immense, so what are you made of?


Lecturer: Okay, who has a dimond ring here?

(A few hands go up)


He was still laughing in our prac a few hours later. It's always nice to see somebody being passionate - this guy was really getting his rocks off...on rocks.

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